The truth about The Walking Dead ratings decline


The ratings for AMC’s The Walking Dead are down from previous seasons but they are still higher than any other genre show on television.

Media outlets seem to be very worried about The Walking Dead ratings. If you’ve seen some scary headlines saying that ratings are down for the hit AMC zombie survival drama lately, don’t worry.

While the ratings have dropped, they are still high enough to put The Walking Dead in first place among cable shows and in first place in genre shows. The sky is not falling. The Walking Dead ratings are still impressive. Let’s break down the numbers:

The Walking Dead Ratings So Far

We’re only 3 episodes into Season 7 of The Walking Dead but already the ratings are consistent with the high numbers of past seasons. The season premiere was the second highest rated episode of the show ever. 17 million live viewers tuned in to see who Negan killed. The highest rated episode, which was the Season 5 premiere, had 17.2 million live viewers. The second episode of Season 7, “The Well”, had 12.5 million live viewers. The third episode, “The Cell”, dropped a little bit from previous episode. But it still pulled in 11.72 million live viewers. When you add in the Live +3 and Live +7 views those numbers increase significantly.

Live Vs Live +3 and Live +7

Confused by all the ratings jargon? It’s really pretty simple. These days millions of people don’t watch the live broadcast of a cable show but watch it later online, recorded on a DVR, or On Demand. Live views only account for one portion of how the ratings are calculated. Another metric used to measure ratings is Live +3. The Live +3 count is how many viewers watched the live broadcast or watched the episode within 3 days of the air date. The third way that viewers are measured is Live +7. A Live +7 count is how many viewers watched the original broadcast and how many people watched the episode in the 7 days after the broadcast.

The Walking Dead  ratings for the season premiere jumped to 20.8 million views once the Live +3 views were calculated. Episode 2 jumped up to 16.84 million with the additional Live +3 views. So don’t be misled by stories about how badly The Walking Dead is doing in the ratings. In fact, the ratings are still high enough to give The Walking Dead double and sometimes triple the number of viewers that other genre shows have.

Genre Show Ratings

To put The Walking Dead ratings in perspective it helps to look at the ratings for other popular genre shows. The three other most popular genre shows are American Horror Story, Game of Thrones, and Supernatural. The first three episodes of the current season of American Horror Story added together have fewer viewers than just one episode of The Walking Dead. The current season of Supernatural averages about one million viewers per episode. Game of Thrones, which is the closest to The Walking Dead in ratings, pulled in an average of 7 million viewers per episode in the most recent season.

Why The Walking Dead’s Ratings Are Down

There was some controversy about the graphic deaths of Glenn and Abe in the season premiere of

The Walking Dead

. A few fans thought the violence was too much, even for a show like this. They are complaining on social media about it and say they will boycott the show. But if they are boycotting the numbers don’t show it. The ratings for the show are still high.

twd-by-the-numbers /

It’s normal for the ratings of a show to drop after the season premiere. There is always some fluctuation in the ratings from week to week because fans can’t always watch the live broadcast of a show. That’s why the Live +3 and Live +7 ratings are important. Looking at those additional numbers gives a much more complete picture of how many people are watching the show.

The Walking Dead Isn’t Going Anywhere

The Walking Dead has already been renewed for Season 8. But it’s almost certain that it will run for at least several seasons after that. If the show continues to use the graphic novels as source material there are a lot of stories left to tell.  The focus of the story is changing in Season 7. It’s not just about surviving anymore. Now the group will have to deal with new challenges and threats.  The other communities like The Kingdom and Hilltop will also be a big part of the new focus of the show.

The Walking Dead ratings are high compared to many other cable and network shows, but they blow other genre shows out of the water. Genre shows generally fade out pretty quickly. They  target a small niche of fans and lose steam after a few seasons.

Next: Are you The Walking Dead's biggest fan?

The Walking Dead ‘s complex  characters, fantastic effects, and compelling story lines make it unique. It’s the highest rated show on cable and has a massive fanbase that is passionate about the show. The fans will ensure the long time survival of the show. So don’t worry TWDFamily. The Walking Dead may be in its 7th season but it’s not going anywhere for a long time.